Placement endings in long term foster care: the effects on carers and their ideas for the future

Prof Doc Thesis

Powell, Melanie 2005. Placement endings in long term foster care: the effects on carers and their ideas for the future. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsPowell, Melanie
TypeProf Doc Thesis

This study explored long term foster carers' experiences of placement endings and
their accounts of the psychological and emotional impact of these events. The study
also focussed on both the approaches carers adopted to cope at these times and the
resources which they found helpful or otherwise. Carers' perceptions of responses
from family, community members and Social Care Services were explored as well.
The research was intended to help recognise the needs of foster carers and advocate
their views.
In depth interviews were conducted with ten long term foster carers who had
experienced a placement ending. A grounded theory approach towards the data
analysis was chosen to develop a model of the ending process for carers. The analysis
suggested that carers' experiences of placement endings were influenced by the
decision process, the reasons for the placement breakdown and the carers' perceptions
of their role. The actual ending event provided the context of the carers' responses.
While for some stories of relief emerged, the predominant responses involved feelings
of loss, responsibility, self criticism and helplessness. The findings suggested that
foster carers experienced placement endings as a process which involved both shorter
and longer term reactions. Inherent in the process were the coping strategies
employed which enabled the letting go of the relationship with the foster child and
facilitated carers in continuing their role, their future approaches to fostering and
future decision making. The factors which seemed to impede this process included
lack of recognition from others and barriers to the carers' expressions of feelings. The
results also generated ideas for future practice.
The findings are discussed in relation to the literature. Theoretical understandings of
stress, trauma and loss are considered with a particular emphasis on the salient factors
associated with the role of the foster carer. The clinical implications of the study are
also discussed. In particular, recommendations are made for supporting carers through
placement endings with suggestions for psychological support. Service
recommendations are also presented with an emphasis on team working, recognition
of practitioners' feelings and new concepts of support.

Publication dates
PrintSep 2005
Publication process dates
Deposited02 Jul 2014
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